Taoism is a beautiful philosophy I have been studying now for decades, and it still eludes me, catches my curiosity and pulls at my heart. The essence of it for me is that there is only one thing. This one permeating thing is an essential life energy that we are made of, and can be aligned to more, further harnessing that which allows ourselves and all beings to be truly ourselves. Part of this is the removal of that which is not in alignment (namely our ego, our beliefs, biases, toxins in the body and so forth). Inflow with nature and the universe as whole, physical, emotional and spiritual contentment is experienced. It’s about embracing wonder and finding truth for oneself. As the Tao is essentially indefinable, the teachings are graceful and elusive and one studying the Tao must truly find the truth for oneself.
As such, there are sooo many interpretations of Taoism, and its quintessential text, the Tao Te Ching. Although I don’t want to add clumsily to this pile of words, I have had so many students ask about Taoism with my frequent posting of the Tao Te Ching on Instagram and I thought I would start to attempt a gentle extrapolation. My aim is to find inspiration and wisdom, and couple it with practical elements where I can.
I will pick out chapters in no particular order, just that which delights me on the day of writing.
“Colours blind the eye.
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavours numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.
The Master observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open to the sky.”
In today’s setting of tech overloading, social spamming and in general a sense of chaos, I find this verse particularly essential as a reminder of what is vital for us as humans. Too much stimulation, too much of everything and we weaken. We are subject to too many exterior opinions. Our minds are overworked.
Mastery of life is trusting our inner vision, our inner selves and truths. It is non-attachment to what is occurring, dropping expectations and frustrations. The time for us to allow our hearts to open to the sky, to the universe, to nature, is now. To make this our daily practice, so that our inner vision can shine brightly to us at all times.
To fall more deeply into alignment with your true nature, consider taking an hour of silence each morning. No social media, no television. Begin with breathing in the morning air deeply, through an open window or perhaps a moment outside. Take an hour in which there are no exterior things inputting into your mind and heart. Now is a time to meditate, stretch, breathe, perhaps read the Tao Te Ching or an ancient text. Perhaps journal, or paint. Saturate in nature. Consider the mind, body and breath and how you can be content and full with all. Keep curious, open and considered. Be mindful of every move, and every moment, so the hour is rich with presence.
The Tao Te Ching is a book I read daily, sometimes just a chapter, sometimes more. It doesn’t matter how many times I read it, I discover something new. I have many interpretations of the Tao Te Ching, but the one I enjoy the most is what I will reference here, by Stephen Mitchel. I particularly enjoy the version where Dr. Stephen Little has selected Chinese artworks that go with each verse.
Sent with love,